Anyone familiar with comedian Joe Pera, and especially his deceptively placid Adult Swim comedy series Joe Pera Talks With You, knows that he’s not in any hurry. So last night’s Late Show saw Stephen Colbert—clearly a huge fan of the idiosyncratic Pera (as is our own Erik Adams)—slowing things down for an extended talk with the comic about, well, nothing much at all, really.
That’s the singular beauty of Pera’s comedy style, his ambling, grandfatherly words emerging with the gently delighted surprise of a guy who just really, really likes going to the grocery store, reading the local church bulletins, or the simple joys of dunking your toast in a fried egg. With Colbert gingerly nudging their conversation on, Pera (who could be Stephen Merchant’s shorter younger brother after a glass of warm milk) explained how his standup style (described accurately by Erik as “soft-spoken, deadpan, and disarming”) first got him onto Adult Swim via an animated short called Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep, which pretty much sums up Pera’s whole walking ASMR vibe. There’s a ticklish schtick to his signature persona, but there’s also the absolute certainty that he is very much the sort of guy whose voice is guaranteed to lull you into the most pleasantly amused dreams of your life, visions of automated pretzel-making machines replacing your counting sheep.
For Colbert, who says he initially wrote Pera to tell him just how much he liked the comedian’s Adult Swim show, their first meeting was clearly everything he could have expected, one of those rare times when a late-night host books someone simply because he needs to see them up close. In a clip from the second season of Joe Pera Talks With You, we see the (very lightly fictionalized) Pera warily but happily trying a supermarket sample of what the sample guy assures him is a new, life-changing ham. Joe tries it, agrees that the honey-glazed ham tastes like honey, and just really, really enjoys that ham, telling the guy so. And that’s it. That’s Joe Pera. He’s funny.
The second season of Joe Pera Talks With You premieres on Friday on Adult Swim.